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OKFutures Moving Forward

2019 Professional Development Conference

Presenters: Thackerville

Each one of our presenters is set to bring their expertise and insight to create an engaging experience for all attendees. We'd like to say a big thank you to each one of our presenters for their support of this conference!

Amy Huffer, Ph.D.

Trauma-Informed Care - Live Stream (Facilitated by Shakara Chaney)

Amy Huffer graduated with her master's in social work from the University of Oklahoma and earned her doctorate in human science from Oklahoma State University. She specializes in infant and early childhood mental health and currently supports efforts of Zero to Three to change the trajectory for infants, toddlers and their families impacted by the child protection system. Previously, she assisted with the research and dissemination of the Attachment and Bio-Behavioral Catch-Up (ABC) intervention through the University of Delaware and served as Oklahoma’s Early Childhood Trainer and Consultant where she worked to develop and strengthen infant and early childhood workforce across the state. Huffer has supported infant and early childhood mental health consultation for early education settings and additionally supported research efforts in the field of infant and early childhood mental health. Huffer has been endorsed by the Oklahoma Association for Infant Mental Health as an Infant Mental Health Mentor and regularly provides training and reflective consultation to professionals serving infants, toddlers and their families.

Joyce Hepler

Infant and Toddler Care

Joyce Hepler has more than 20 years experience in early childhood education. She completed her undergraduate work at Northeastern State University in early childhood and elementary education and her graduate work at Oklahoma State University earning her master’s in teaching, learning and leadership with an emphasis in curriculum. Helper spent the first half of her career with school age children at Head Start and then worked in Early Head Start. At present, she is a senior education project specialist for CAP Tulsa. Helper enjoys using her passion for infants and toddlers to facilitate trainings about children’s development and connection to nature as well as partnering with families through cultural conversations. Her roles outside of work include being a wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt.


Gay Snyder

The Growing Brain*

Gay Snyder is a certified trainer of Zero to Three’s The Growing Brain. She has worked in early intervention and preschool programs in both Kansas and Oklahoma and spent 10 years teaching at the University of Central Oklahoma as an adjunct instructor in child development. Snyder received her bachelor’s in child development from Kansas State University and her master’s in early childhood education/special education from Wichita State University. She resides in Tulsa, Okla. with her husband Rick. She currently works part time in professional development and joyfully spends much of her time with her three grandchildren.

*This location's session will be taught by a professional certified to teach Zero to Three's The Growing Brain.


Kathy Gomez

The Importance of Play

With over two decades of experience in education, Kathy Gomez has touched the lives of countless teachers and children. Gomez is passionate about improving practices that impact teachers, administrators, and most of all, children and their families. Currently, she is a National Science Teacher Association trainer, a School Readiness project coordinator, and a certified key trainer for Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design). She uses her extensive knowledge to lead participants through engaging professional development that reflects current research, promotes equity of education and includes meaningful, hands-on learning practices. She has a master’s in elementary education with an emphasis in English as a second language. She also holds a master’s in health, physical education and recreation. She is certified in a variety of classroom-quality assessments, including CLASS (Infant, Toddler and Pre-K), ECERS, ITERS, DRDP, High Scope and Project GLAD. Kathy also possesses multi-subject credentials in California and Colorado, and an Early Childhood Education Director’s Permit in the state of California. 


Kyong ah Kwon, Ph.D.

The Happy Teacher Project - Live Stream

Kyong-Ah Kwon is an associate professor in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum at the University of Oklahoma (OU)-Tulsa. She has extensive experience as a teacher of young children in Korea and the United States. She received her doctorate in developmental studies from Purdue University and worked as an associate professor at Georgia State University before coming to OU. Kwon has an extensive record of scholarly work about parenting, classroom quality and teachers’ well-being and each of these impact on children’s development. She has been published in prestigious journals, such as Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Learning and Individual Differences and Early Education and Development. Kwon has also led several grants that contribute to supporting teachers and improving classroom quality. She was recently awarded the Research Scholarship Award from the Jeanine Rainbolt College of Education at OU.


Ken Randall, Ph.D.

The Happy Teacher Project - Live Stream

Ken Randall is co-director of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) at the University of Oklahoma (OU)-Tulsa as well as associate dean of the College of Allied Health and a professor in the department of rehabilitation sciences at the OU Health Sciences Center. He received his bachelor’s in physical therapy from OU in 1986, his master’s in human relations degree from OU in 1996, and his doctorate in educational psychology at Oklahoma State University in 2009. Randall has taught in the academic environment for 27 years and been in physical therapy field for 33 years. Moreover, he has been involved in interprofessional education for 20 years. Randall is currently involved in three research studies examining fitness and wellness in three distinct populations: 1) Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (in collaboration with the St. Jude affiliate clinic at St. Francis Children’s Hospital); 2) adults with behavioral diagnoses (a collaboration with OU Tulsa’s IMPACT team and Dr. Jessica Tsotsoros in occupational therapy); and 3) early childhood educators (in collaboration with the Early Childhood Education Institute at OU). 

He has published numerous articles in international journals as well as in both Allied Health Education and Physical Therapy, the flagship journals of his profession. In addition, he has presented internationally on four continents. Randall’s publications and presentations address topics that range from academic integrity to novel educational strategies to fostering student success in the practice environment and to individual and community-centered practice. He has received over fifteen teaching and service awards over the years, including the OU-Tulsa President’s Award for leadership in community service in 2009, the Oklahoma Physical Therapy Association Kennett Ball Service Award in 2014, and the inaugural Provost’s Teaching Award at the OU Health Sciences Center in 2017.